FA Girls’ Football Week #WeCanPlay

I was pleasantly surprised when Jadyn came home one day saying she wanted to enter the tryouts to play football for her school team. To be honest, she had never shown any interest in playing the game and more so, I don’t think I had ever encouraged her to do so.

It was great news to find out that she had been chosen to be on the team. Yes, girls can play football and they are pretty good at it.

I felt quite proud to see her play and though they didn’t win overall, the team did pretty well.

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Do you have daughters who play football?

If you don’t, maybe you need to think about getting them interested in playing. I had never realised that Jadyn would want to play football. Perhaps it’s my thinking that football is predominantly a boys’ game. This thinking was also seen when The FA  ran a survey among girls where only just over half felt that football was a game for them. Even among young girls that did want to play football, one in four didn’t follow this interest up because they did not have any peer support.

To help champion women’s football, last year The FA launched a campaign called ‘We Can Play’, calling for more girls, parents and teachers to realise that girls can play football too and that it is not just a sport for boys.

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Next week sees is The FA Football Week which aims to to help drive girls’ participation in the sport, raise awareness of the opportunities for girls to play locally and help encourage positive perception changes for girls, parents and teachers about football.

To get you and your girls more interested in playing football, here’s some information about Kelly Smith, an English football forward currently playing for FA WSL (Women’s Super League) club Arsenal Ladies.

Kelly Smith was made an MBE in 2008. She grew up in Watford and played football regularly on the boys’ team. She was kicked out of the team when the parents of her male opponents complained, despite being the top goal scorer at age 7.

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She carried on playing football at Pinner Girls, a team formed by her father, moving onto develop her skills at Wembley Ladies, making her senior debut in 1995. She has since accumulated over 100 caps for the England women’s national football and is England’s record goal-scorer with 46 goals. Kelly also played in the women’s football team for Great Britain at the 2012 London Olympics.

If you are interested in playing football and to find your local football opportunity, go to TheFA.com/PlayFootball to find local football opportunities to you.

You may want to also encourage your child’s school to look into more football for girls. The FA is offering free-to-use resources to participating schools and institutions, which include session guides and promotional materials. This can be accessed by registering the session at www.fagirlsfootballweek.com

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We had been really lucky to also get a behind the scene tour of Wembley Stadium with a peek into the players’ locker rooms and that piqued Jadyn’s interest in the game even more.

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Disclosure: This post is in collaboration with The FA. All ideas and opinions are my own.

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